Veteran journalist and Assistant Editor Reporting Business Recorder Iqbal Mirza passed away on Tues-day night after brief illness. He was 81. He was survived by a wife and four daughters. His funeral prayers will be held at Masjid-e-Arifeen near Sea Breeze Plaza on Shahrah-e-Faisal at 1:30 pm on Wednesday. He will be laid to rest at Janatul Noor Graveyard in Mehran Town, Korangi Industrial area, according to his family.
Born as Mirza Iqbal Ahmed Beg in 1933 in British India, he chose Iqbal Mirza as a pen name to author news. His journalistic career spanned over five decades, during which he remained associated with different local and international news organisations.
Daily Business Recorder was his last news organisation where he served as Assistant Editor Reporting till his death. Iqbal Mirza entered the profession in 1956. In 1959 with hardly three years of experience in the field, he was picked up to cover the first state visit of President Ayub Khan to Iran and Turkey. Subsequently, he was posted in Tehran as PPA correspondent.
He has the distinction of being the first Pakistani journalist, who was given an exclusive interview by Shahanshah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pehlavi, in his Saadabad Palace in Tehran in 1960, which got extensive coverage in Pakistani media. The interview was also published by Keyhan International.
He also interviewed Prime Minister of Iran Dr Manucheher Eqbal. On return to Pakistan, he represented several foreign newspapers and news agencies, prominent being The Financial Times, London (1964-80), Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong (1967-70) Washington Star (1970), Copley News Service, San Diego, California, USA (1968-70). He had also worked for Civil and Military Gazette, Lahore (1956-59), the newspaper which was edited by Rudyard Kipling, Indian born British writer and poet, in the pre-partition days.
He was selected by the US Government for a six-month visit to the United States under the Leadership Exchange Programme in 1960. He was a member of President General Zia-ul-Haq’s entourage to cover his historic speech in United Nations on October 1, 1980. He served as City Editor of daily Morning News Karachi (1978-1981) and subsequently joined Pakistan Times, Lahore as its Bureau Chief at Karachi (1983-1993). He remained Associated Member of The Chartered Institute of Transport, Wage Board for Newspaper Employees (1979-80), Islamic Press Union, London, and International Institute of Communications, London.
He visited United States during March/April 1981 to participate in a multi-regional seminar entitled: “Free and balanced flow of information” under the International Visitors’ programme sponsored by the State Department, Government of the United States.
He attended a two-day symposium on “communications in the 21st century” held in Richmond, Virginia, US on April 1 and 2, 1981. The symposium was sponsored by the Colgate Draden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia in co-operation with the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California and developed by M/s. Philip Morris Incorporated.
He covered the historic Islamic Summit hosted by Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at Lahore in February 1974. He is credited with interviewing leaders of the status and stature of Sheikh Zaid bin Al Nahyan, the former ruler of Abu Dhabi, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Raja Sahib of Mehmoodabad, General Zia-ul-Haq and the legendary Indian cricketer Mushtaq Ali to name a few. Iqbal Mirza was awarded by All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) for one of his stories, which was picked up as ‘Scoop of the Year’ and published in Pakistan Times in 1988.